Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Year of Memories - 2013

As I went through my mountain of photos for this past year, I fell in love with 2013 all over again.  While we had our sad moments, starting the New Year in a hospital room, losing my father-in-law and my aunt, my cousin's continued battle to receive a new heart, we had many more moments of pure joy!

We legally gained a daughter into the family and we are on the path to adding the other daughter 2 be legally in just over a year.  Our boy's have been blessed greatly with the women God has brought into their lives.  Dream Boy & I couldn't love either of the girls more & I am beside myself having girls in the family fold that are not of the canine/feline persuasion.

I learned even more through the year to find joy in every single day.  Even if the day seems to be the worst ever, it's there, sometimes I just have to dig deeper.

I haven't thought about this for a few years, but it's been dancing around in my mind lately again.  A word for the year.  I've chosen a few in the past -- BELIEVE --  LIFE -- JOY -- and now I have another that is playing in my head.  It's BEYOND.  To reach to infinity & BEYOND.  To go BEYOND the limits I have already set for myself.  To look BEYOND what I think I already know and learn even more.

I've been a little scarce in this little corner of my world as of late, and I most likely will be this week as well.  I am thoroughly enjoying my break from school and most of all, time with my family.

I pray you all have a wonderful and safe New Year celebration and that 2014 will bring great things into your world as well.

I'll be back soon - promise!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Joy!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I've been missing for a few days, been very busy & we had an ice storm come through Saturday night, which left us without power for 2 days!

But all is well and I am forever grateful for the men & women who have spent countless hours out in the cold & snow working to restore power to thousands!

My joy today is having my whole family, with the exception of Son #2's fiancĂ©, is home!!  

We spent last night together at church and then with friends enjoying some Christmas cheer.

Today we are have a relaxing morning and then off to my sister's home to spend more time with family.

God has richly blessed my little family this past year - and I am so thankful for all He has given to us.  Our year was one filled with good health, big celebrations and very good memories.  

So I'm off to celebrate the day away - praying for a blessed Christmas day to all of you.

Remember - it's the birthday of a King!


Friday, December 20, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 20

Hello there!  Yep, I missed yesterday, but I got a little busy do this & that & the other thing I didn't have time to post last night.

But I'm back today.  It was our last day before our 2 week Christmas break.  The weather turned yucky over night, yes ~~~ yucky.  The temps warmed up into the mid 30s and it rained.  Lots of drizzle and fog this morning, but we had school anyways.

It was a day of easy going.  A day of laughter and happy thoughts and not much school work.  That's okay, sometimes you just gotta have days like that, not often, just sometimes.

My students have been preparing all week for "Ugly Christmas Sweater" day.  I told them at the beginning of the week that I would bring in Lucy & set up my tripod and they could have a make shift photo booth.  So they made a special back drop & I brought in my props.

How much joy was brought to my heart watching the kids have fun - teacher's were sending them in throughout the day.  

But these kids are the one's who put it together:
They always make me smile!

And these are my lunch buddies who have made lunch fun this year….
So from all of us to all of you - we share our joy with you!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 18

No snow day today - boo.

But, I got to spend the day with my students.  And actually, it brings me joy to spend time with them.  They can drive me crazy, but they can make me laugh most days.

This time of year the kid's can get pretty squirrely waiting for the much needed Christmas break, but I love their excitement.  It can be quite contagious.  On days like this, when everyone really, really wanted a snow day, I try & make their day a little happier.  So they make snowflakes - GIANT snowflakes!

Why not?  In fact, while they were sitting on the floor folding & cutting I overheard one of them say, "I love this class - it's like a little family to me."  

Joy - yep, my heart was filled with joy at that moment.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 17

A winter wonderland!

Yep ~~  I love it!  It has snowed every day for the past 10 days and I have loved every single inch that has fallen.  I keep hoping that it will continue right through Christmas at least.  Son #2 is flying home from far away Seattle and I know he misses the snow as well.

I'm also hoping that this latest snow will continue through the night & we'll have a snow day tomorrow!  A girl can dream/wish/hope, right?  I mean, Tis the Season and all that.

So - I'm off to the workshop to continue getting Christmas wrapped up and finished off.

I hope you've found joy in your day today!

Monday, December 16, 2013

December Daily Joy - Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning to you!  

We had a very snowy weekend, but it was magical!  I think we've had snow every day for the past week and it's been great!  I can't remember a snowy December like this for quite a while.
Please forgive my photography, but this was taken through a moving bus window, with fogged up windows.

Our church had a dinner last night and then we all boarded a charter bus and toured the town to look at the local light displays.  Not something we would normally do, but a couple from church invited us - so we thought, "why not?"

Our pastor came along with his 2 little girls and the joy in the older daughter's eyes as we passed all the light displays was so fun to see.

We had several of our retired members along and that is where the true joy was!   So many of them are not able to drive in the dark, let alone in the wintery weather - this was a real treat for many of them.

Listening to the joy in their voices and hearing how marvelous they thought everything was.  So many of them wish to do it again next year and really hope that it will be done.

Such a small thing that I really hadn't given much thought to, really brought so much joy to the elderly in our church.  A lot of them are widowed and this was a very special night for them.

I'm so glad we did go - for it brought joy to my heart to see how happy they all were with such a small act, driving around to see the Christmas lights.

Enjoy your Monday & be sure to look for joy, it's right there in front of you probably, you just might not always realize it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December Daily Joy - Songography Joy - Day 15

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
every where you go.
Take a look at the 5 & 10, 
glistening once again.
With Candy Canes & silver lanes that glow."

We had a major snow storm come through yesterday and had a non-stop dumping from dawn til dark.
Just the way I like it.
As far as I'm concerned, it can keep snowing like this right up until March.

It brings me joy - especially at Christmas.
There's something magical about Christmas snow, truly, there is ~ and not just because Frosty says so.
You have to live in it & experience it to know what I'm talking about.

So today, I'm snuggling in, sitting by the warm fire and en"joy"ing the snow laden landscape outside my window.

Be sure to find joy in your day today - and if you need some help, head on over to see the other's interpretation of "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" shots on Kathy's blog!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 14

This is my joy today.

This is my cousin Ric.  He's in the front, in the beautiful blue sweater.  Ric was like a big brother to me growing up, as were his 2 younger brothers.  This family is - oh this family fills my heart with so much emotion.

Ric and Mary are 2 of the sweetest people I've had the joy of knowing.  They are always, ALWAYS full of love and care and compassion.  Ric's mom & my mom were sisters.  We had 3 girls, they had 3 boys.  

I remember the day Ric & Mary married.  I remember when they had their 2 boys.  I remember my mom calling me when Ric & Mary had a house fire and the 2 boys were burned badly from the waist down.  They were around 2 & 4 years old.  They had a long, long road of recovery - many, many surgeries of skin graphs to come.  They survived and grew stronger because of it.  Then along came the little blond sister who stole everyone's heart, especially her daddy's…….and her grandma's. 

We've all grown and become involved with the lives of our families - which happens to so many of us, but through anything & everything, Ric & Mary have always been there for my family.  Now it's my turn, mine & Dream Boy, my sister's and their husband's. 

Ric suffered a very serious heart attack last February.  It has damaged his heart beyond repair.  He has had so many issues since then and has now been told that he needs a heart transplant.  He gets tired quickly, he is limited to what he can do and he has always been very active and on the go!

So when Mary called me almost 2 weeks ago and asked if I could do a family session for them, Ric wanted a family portrait done, I was more than honored to say yes.  She told me the kid's wanted to do it as well for their Christmas gift.  I said no.  She began to argue with me and I told her that Dream Boy & I had talked it over and there was no way I could accept payment for this.  I felt very honored that they chose me and that it was mine & Steve's gift to them, all of them.

We spent a very snowy, cold, windy, wintery afternoon in the local conference center taking pics.  We actually only spent about 45 minutes, until I could see Ric was tiring and the little bitties were getting silly. I would have loved to spend more time with them and really do more shots, but I think I have captured their joy.  

I know they filled my heart with joy and left me feeling so thankful for my family and that Ric, Mary & all of their kids are a part of it.

Did you find any joy today? 

Friday, December 13, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 13

My joy today?  It's not even 8am and I'm in my jammies, with my coffee, my laptop & slippers enjoying Christmas music on the stereo, sitting next to the cozy fire and basking in the glow of the Christmas tree!  My Dream Boy even turned the tree on so when I got up it would be glowing in the living room.  He knows me well.  

I'm NOT at school - that's MY joy today.  Everyone else is, not me.  I have a lot of things to do and get caught up on and I needed to take this day to save my sanity.  Truly.  I have grounded myself until I get to a certain point today, and that's exactly what I needed to do.

I have photo sessions to finish editing & order, I have a house to clean, I have a scrapbook order to finish and another one to finish & deliver.  I have gifts to wrap and Christmas cards to finish addressing…….you get the idea.  

I told myself that I would be done the 1st of December with my photography sessions, giving myself the month to enjoy the holiday's, but I have one very special shoot left tomorrow.  A very special family shoot that is bringing joy to my heart as I write this.  Seriously.  I'm welling up inside with excitement and joy and honor to be able to work with this specific family.

But I'm not telling you anymore - you'll have to wait until later tomorrow, or maybe even Sunday to find out more about the joy it's already bringing me!!!

For now, I've got work to do.  I've sent Santa a request to send me an elf or two if he's able to spare them, but they've not yet arrived.  So, I'd better get busy!

Have a wonderful, beautiful, fantastic Friday.  Enjoy the little things throughout your day and be sure to find joy in whatever you are doing!

Until tomorrow my friends~~~~

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 12

This wood burner is bringing me great joy this week.  I freeze at school all day, generally having my little space heater run all day under my desk to keep some of the chill off.

Then with the temps we've been experiencing this week, the snow that has fallen every day this week and shoveling the driveway twice already this week - this wood burner is certainly making me feel all warm inside & out.

When we get the energy bill - it brings great joy to Dream Boy!  We save quite a bit on our heating bill every winter when we are able to burn wood.

Libbi the Wonder Dog especially likes it too.  She can be found pretty much every night stretched out on the floor in front of it taking a long winter's nap.

Are you still looking for joy in your every day life?  Have you found any?  Keep looking, it's there - maybe in the last place you'd expect to find it, but it's there!

Until tomorrow~~~~

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 11

A wintery night, chilly-chilly temps, a warm fire in the wood burner and my constant companion cozied up for a winter's nap.

Love this girl - she's got such a personality.  She's always happy to see me when I come home from anywhere.  She loves to help me shovel the driveway.  She is always ready & willing to sit on the dock (or jump off it) on a hot summer's day.

But right now, in this moment - she brings me joy just by being here every single day.  She makes every day all right.

Now it's your turn - where are you finding joy today?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 10

Christmas lights.

This is our humble abode……and it makes me giddy when Dream Boy puts up the Christmas lights.  Nothing fancy, but enough to set off the house and make it feel festive!

He put these up on Sunday afternoon, when it was bitterly cold (it still is).  Fortunately he got them up before the snow started to fall.  This brings me joy because it also brings with it the memories of when our boys were little.

Son #1 would beg for more & more lights.  He insisted on a Christmas tree in every room and a candle in every window!  He insisted every room have some sort of Christmas decor & he even had his own snowman light for his bedroom window!

Sunday night when son #1 & daughter came for dinner, we reminisced about this.  Imagine daughter's dismay when she heard all these stories and now Son #1 won't put a light one on their house.  He's being a poop.

So, Dream Boy went through the rest of our lights after they left and is planning a surprise attack on Son #1's home when he's at work some night this week. 

Christmas joy - it's everywhere, you just need to look for it some days!  And if you've found it, be sure to spread it on to others!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Morning Coffee With a Side of Joy - Day 9

Good Monday morning to you all.  Is your world white and bright like mine?  It's been snowing and the ground is being coated in it's true first blanket of snow for the year.  It's magical!

I always love the first "real" snow.  It brings back memories of my mom.  While she hated driving in the snow - she loved the first one.  She always said it reminded her of one of her favorite hymns - "now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.  Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow."  I can hear her singing it as I'm writing this.  

I miss my mom - especially this time of year.  It was always a favorite for her.  Her last Christmas on this earth was spent in the M-ICU in a coma.  When she came out of it a week later, her 1st question was, "did I miss Christmas?"  My sister said, "you missed the 25th of December, but we haven't had Christmas yet."  We had our family Christmas on April 28th that year - and our mom went home to be with our Lord 3 weeks later.  It was the best Christmas ever!

But here we are 8 years later - and we are celebrating our 1st Christmas with our new daughter.  So much fun having her join in fully with the family traditions and celebrations!  My family does baskets for each other, so she has been scheming as to what she can add from her and son #1 to the family baskets & she's having so much fun with it.

See that cup of hot chocolate up there ladled with whipped cream & dripping chocolate sauce?  Yes - the one in my favorite Christmas mug……"believe" is my family's word.  We embraced it the Christmas our mom was so sick and we believed with all our hearts that she would recover, and she did.  We were given the gift of having her for another 5 months and we loved all of our time with her.  

So anyways - back to my hot chocolate….got a little sidetracked.  Dream Boy and I were enjoying a relaxing afternoon yesterday and he asks if I'd like some hot chocolate?  Sure!  So he makes it up and brings out my mug full of whipped cream & chocolate drizzle, just like I like it!  I take a sip & am a little surprised!  He added Bailey's into the mix!  Oh my, what a wonderful little treat.  But with the warm cocoa, the warm fire in the wood burner & the snow softly falling outside, I promptly took a little nappy poo on the couch!

Well, where am I going with all of this?  My joy for the day.  My joy comes from being surrounded by my family every day of the year.  In one form or another, we are communicating on a daily basis.  Son #2 & I were texting last night and we got talking about this very thing.  When it comes down to it, family is everything.  We may not have the best of relationships with some of our family, but my boys, all 3 of them, my daughter & almost daughter, my sisters and their kids mean the world to me.  I know they always have my back and will be there in a heartbeat - always!

My joy is carrying the warmth in my heart of knowing that.  I love everyone of them to the moon and back and know that my life would be completely different if they were not a part of it.

Now go out there and enjoy your day - and find some joy!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 8

Coming home from church today to seeing our tree up.  This brings me joy.

Dream Boy & I attended the funeral yesterday for the dad of our friends.  Tough time of year to lose a loved one, actually there's never a good time, but the holiday season seems to really make it harder.  I must say though, it was an awesome tribute to a special man.  His son-in-law sang, oh how he sang!  And his grandchildren spoke and shared their favorite memories.  Through the tears, there were smiles and even laughter and it was truly an amazing service.

Afterwards, Dream Boy & I stopped at the grocery store and picked up the fixings to make some homemade turkey noodle soup and a loaf of crusty bread.  We headed home and got the soup to simmering and commenced setting up the tree.

What joy fills my heart as I go through all the ornaments and remember where or who they came from.  This year, I separated out the boy's ornaments for their own trees.  Son #1 will pick his up and I'll be packing up & shipping out Son #2's this week.  I hope they enjoy the memories that flood your mind as they hang them on their own trees.

Today finds us snuggled up in front of the fire and I'm editing pictures, while Dream Boy watches the snow storm of a game between Detroit & Philly - uh Kathy?   Not so sunny there today, is it?  LOL!

Have an enjoyable and blessed remainder of the day.

Be sure to find some joy in it!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 7

Dream Boy and I went downtown last night.  It was "Art Hop" night.  Art Hop happens the 1st Friday night of every month where local artists display their creations in local stores.  The businesses of downtown Kalamazoo open up their doors late on this special night and the streets literally fill with people.  It helps the business owner's and it helps the local artist become better known.
There was a group of little girls dancing in the street, a very young man playing his guitar on a bench (poor guy had hand warmers close by), there was even younger man selling his "artistic drawings" on construction paper.  There are all forms of art to be found in the shops & on the streets.

One store that drew our attention is one that has nothing BUT local artists renderings.  It's called MRC Art Works.  It's a studio where adults with mental & physical disabilities come to create works of art and then sell.  25% of the proceeds go to buy supplies and cover expenses of the store space, but the rest goes to the artist - they receive a paycheck.

Dream Boy purchased this amazing Snowman Portrait painted by Jessica W.  It just brings me joy!  The moment we walked into the store, I immediately saw it hanging on the wall.  All I could see was the Snowman - pooping stars!  I mean really, look at his face and then the stars underneath him!  His face is a little embarrassed at what he's done, but yet he has a little hint of a smile for what he's created!
As Dream Boy was paying for my piece of art, I was telling the cashier my interpretation of the painting and asked her to be sure to tell Jessica W. that this painting just brings pure joy to my heart.

The cashier laughed & said Jessica would totally LOVE my interpretation - she knew for certain that this would make Jessica laugh.

As I walked out to the kitchen this morning and saw it laying on the table, once again, smiles came and a little giggle & a warm feeling of joy filled my insides. It's the little things.

There's a whole day ahead of you yet - be sure to find joy in the little things of what fills your life today.  It's always there, sometimes we just need to dig a little deeper to find it.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 6

Friday.  That alone should bring lots of joy to anyone, right?   

Half day of school on Friday - even better!!

I spent the afternoon exchanging a pair of jeans that I got Dream Boy for his birthday last week and then did a little Christmas shopping because on a Friday afternoon, everyone else is at work and this girl wasn't.  Booyah!

I also got a wee little start on Christmas decorating.  Nope, I haven't done any before today - I know, I know, little slow.  But hey, it's how this girl rolls.

Then I spent the afternoon in my newly rebuilt glider rocker and some new yarn, my crochet hook and White Christmas playing on the t.v. - a yearly tradition for me.  JOY!!
Dream Boy & I are heading to pay our respects to our friends who lost their dad earlier this week and then we are heading downtown for Art Hop!!

Art Hop = Joy!   Yeah, yeah, it's December and it's turned might frigid in the last 48 hours, but it's Christmas and it's time with my Dream Boy and it's Art Hop!  Double Joy……, no……TRIPLE JOY!

I hope you are doing something this evening that brings you joy as well.

I'll be back soon!  If you haven't found your joy yet today - get and there and look for it!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 5

I went to the dentist today to get a cavity filled.  Not so joyous.  Thankfully, I'm not one to get to anxious over it, but still not a joyous moment in my day.  I can say though, that at least I like my dentist - for the most part.  But I've been going to him for so long, I can tell him anything and let him know if I'm not too happy with him.

But then, on to more joyous things.  I went to Christmas choir practice tonite.  I do love singing - and the Christmas season is one of my favorite times to sing.  So wonderful.

It was a fairly uneventful day at school & that is always a thing of joy.  

This though, is one of the things that brings me joy every year.
Christmas cards.  I have a special place that I hang them every year.  I love receiving them, and I love mailing them and giving them out as well.  

We have a tradition and every year, since I was pregnant for our 2nd son, we have taken a family picture for our card.  I have a scrapbook with a copy of the card and/or pic from every one of those years.  

The family knows - this is a tradition that I insist upon every year.  Son #1 dreads it, so I always give him a heads up when it's going to be so he can "mentally" prepare.  But this year it wasn't an issue.  We did our family shots at his wedding where he was so filled with joy that he was willing to do anything.

So the tradition carries on and I will be addressing and mailing our cards this weekend.  It brings me such joy!

Where did you find joy today?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December Daily Joy - Day 4

What a great night for a parade!   The temps were in the upper 50s and the rain held off!  In my opinion though - it would have been better had it been cold and snowy, just seems more like Christmas to me.

But - Santa & Mrs. Claus were very grateful for the warm reprieve after the winter they are having so far at the North Pole.  

Oodles & oodles of little kiddo's came through to tell Santa their hopes & wishes for what they'll find under the tree this year.  Some got straight to the point, while other's had to think a bit, and then there was this little girl..
No, that's not her list.  She went through the sale flyers in the paper and cut out pictures to make sure Santa knew exactly what she was talking about.  Gotta love this little girl!

Then there was the tug-o-war team:
Not sure if she's crying because they're holding her to keep her running from Santa, or if Mrs. Claus is pinching her arm too tight or she spotted Santa before the pic and is traumatized for life?  Whatever - I'm loving the look on big sister's face on the far right………she's clearly over it.

I have visions of Santa in my childhood memories - in the window of the local department store downtown.  Standing in line for what seemed like forever to give him my list.  Sadly there are no pictures of those days, it just wasn't the norm.  So I'm making up for it..
They told me to sit on Santa's knee, but I said no - I didn't think he wanted knee replacement surgery for Christmas.

The joy today was watching the local parade as the firetrucks all decorated in their Christmas lights & decked out with fire fighters, the dog walkers, the high school marching band and Mr. & Mrs. Claus move through the streets of town.  Then the bright pops of light as the fireworks announced that Santa had arrived and the hustle & bustle of the parents & their little one's as they rushed inside to get in line to see Santa.

I was asked about 5 years ago to be the photographer for this event and have not regretted it.  It is so much fun.  I always get a couple of my high school senior's to help me out & I donate the proceeds towards their senior trip because they are in need of it.  

What a great night - filled with joy.  Where did you find your joy today???

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Daily - Day 1 - 2 and 3

I've done this before and decided to give it a go again this year, albeit 3 days into the month already.  Oh well.  It is what it is.

During the month of November everyone posts a "thankful" thought on FB or their blog or twitter.  December Daily is along that line, but instead it's about that specific day.  I've made December Daily Journals in the past, but I find the blogging - now that my kids are grown & gone - works better for me.  

Sunday was the 1st of December - duh.  It was my baby sister's birthday, so I called and left her the most mah-velous rendition of Happy Birthday on her voicemail.  She says she's going to save it as her ring tone.  I hope she does - it's quite obnoxious.  

I also had 2 photo shoots:
The 1st was of this young man, Justin.  He earned the highest honors a boy scout can earn - he became an Eagle Scout.  I was privileged to be asked by his mom to put his photo video montage together & take shots during the ceremony.  What an awesome production!

Then I scooted over to a local park where I got to play with this family for a little over an hour.  As you can see, one little man in particular was quite comical throughout our whole session.  

Monday, hopefully you visited and had coffee with me - if not, click here.

Today, I am playing travel agent.  With all the year's I've planned our high school senior trip to and from Florida, I've become somewhat an aficionado on booking flights.
Friend's of our left this past weekend for their yearly vacation in Florida.  They are usually gone most of the month of December.  His dad passed away this morning and through his grief he wasn't thinking clearly and just began driving from airport to airport to try & book flights.  Dream Boy knows that I can pull up this info fairly quickly and find pretty decent prices - so he called me.  Within 20 minutes I was on the phone with our friend and we had he & his wife booked on a flight for tomorrow.  It was the least I could do for them. 

When my dad passed away suddenly in 2008 - we were in Florida on spring break.  I got the call on Tuesday from my sister's that he had died & I couldn't think clearly enough to begin booking a flight home, so our friend who was also vacationing with us, called his secretary back home & she had me on a flight home that night.  It was such a relief to have someone else pick up that burden for us and help us out.  Dream Boy & Son #2 ended up driving home 2 days later.  I just needed to be home "now" to be with my sister's and help plan my dad's funeral.  

So tomorrow is another day - a new day - the 4th day in December!  This is the time of year where we dig down deep within ourselves and find joy in the little things of each day!  We've just come off a month of focusing on all the things we have in our lives year round, so now it's time to take a daily look of the joy from that particular day.

Tomorrow I get to do my yearly shoot with Santa & Mrs. Claus.  After the local parade in the adjoining town, the little one's scurry into a local restaurant and stand in line to tell Santa all of their hopes & wants.  Some just sit & stare at him and yes, some cry - but it's still a time of joy!  So forgive me if my post tomorrow is later - I want to share what I capture from that event.

What bit of joy have you found in this day?  Dig deep - I know you'll find it!  

Be sure to come back soon!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning everyone!  I know, I know, I'm a little late posting today.  But I just came off of a 4 day weekend that was absolutely the best!

It started Wednesday night celebrating Dream Boy's birthday.  Son #1 & dear daughter met us for dinner at a local pub.  Then we hopped to the local brewpub, Dream Boy's favorite, for a beer and some more chat time.  

Thursday found us enjoying our Thanksgiving dinner with my older sister & brother-in-law and various family members.  As always, it was a yummy dinner (ahem Pam - tell Aunt Hankie I LOVED the almond tarts), and SO much food to go around.  

We had my MIL with us, so after dinner we took her home & returned to a quiet home ourselves.  Dream Boy had started up the wood burner last week and the house was so nice & cozy.  Dear daughter texted me about 7pm and invited me to join her & her sister for some Thursday night madness.  I'm not normally one to jump on the Black Friday madness, but thought I would give it a go just this one.  Okay - didn't know I was going to be in the presence of "pro's", but dear daughter & her sis have a system and know how to work it!  Yowza!  We breezed into the store, grabbed our goodies and left in no more than an hour later!!! I did get a few goodies, but the one's I really wanted had lines a mile long - so decided it wasn't that great a deal.  I went back to the same store Saturday afternoon for some other items and low & behold I found those items STILL on sale for the same price!  SCORE!!

Friday was spent wrapping up a few of my photo session packets and cooking 2 turkey's.  Dream Boy got a little over zealous and brined 2 turkey's.  So we roasted one in the oven and he smoked the other one.  We kept the roasted turkey for ourselves and brought the smoke turkey to our 2nd Thanksgiving meal on Friday night with our friends.  

Friday night we gathered at our close friends home with our boys (the one's who live locally) and enjoyed another scrumptious meal.  Oh my - I really shouldn't have to eat again until Christmas......seriously.  But it was time to laugh & reminisce & celebrate.  We had such a wonderful evening.  

Saturday was spent running errands and just chilling at home.  Dream Boy & I started watching season 3 of Downton Abbey so that we're up to speed when season 4 starts.  It was so nice to just kick back & veg in front of the warm fire and watch t.v.

Sunday we started our morning in church and then headed off to an Eagle Scout Ceremony for the son of some long time friends.  What a production!  I've never been to one of these before - but it is quite an honor.  I knew Eagle Scout was a very highly regarded honor, but the process is quite cool.  I was honored to be asked to make his video and then capture the ceremony on camera for them.  

When done there - I scooted off to a family shoot.  Grandma & Grandpa and all the kids & grandkids were there to meet me, all 15 of them.  It was a beautiful afternoon for some great family fun.  They were all so cooperative and we truly enjoyed our time together.  My favorite moment was when the 7 year old grandson told me that everyone had the same last name, except his mom.  I knew his mom looked familiar to me, but thought it was from when I originally met the family at the campground.  7 year old grandson told me mommy's last name & it hit me - I knew her from being one of my former students!  She's been out of school for over 8 years, but we started laughing when we realized who each other was!  Then - 7 year old grandson goes running ahead to his little cousin's and says, "you want to hear something really funny guys?  That lady was my mommy's teacher!!"  They all found this absolutely hilarious!

Small world, eh?

So today - I'm back to school.  Came in this morning to find that my computer is not playing nice.  It doesn't want to boot up, only run it's fan at warped speed.  Now, I have a job that entails my tracking student's attendance and grades and I oversee a computer lab in which I need my computer to trouble shoot issues they may have.  I cannot be without a computer!!  So, I've filed a work order and am still waiting for someone from IT to come in, but in the meantime - my vice principal shared her laptop with me.  Isn't that nice of her?

I guess, I'd better get back to work now.  Just wanted to stop in and have a quick cup of joe with you all and check in on your Thanksgiving weekend.  I hope you all truly had a wonderful weekend celebrating your many blessings with family & friends.

Until later.........